Category Archives: eating out and about. food porn included.

A Magical Summer of Food Porn: The Photo Album

Did you miss me? I know, it’s been a while since any posting has been done. I’ve been busy.

Very busy.

Busy eating, obviously.

Here’s a recap with absolutely no worthwhile information but lots of quality food porn from Germany to Glasgow to London to LA to  a secret little garden party in the country.

We’ll start with the phenomenal brunch platters in Berlin, which should be available at all brunching locales around the world.

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J’adore Paris. I eat Paris.

In true FamilyStyles fashion, these next few posts are dedicated to our mom, an amazing person and one of the reasons that Irene and I place such an importance on good food and family.  We  did  some traveling around Paris and  Southwest France last month to visit friends, a trip which happened to come soon after reading My Life in France by Julia Child.  After consuming tales of Parisian markets and laborious and decadent French meals, my mother was inspired,  bien sur, to do her own search for some serious French food. As the lucky daughter already on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean, I joined her for an epicurean tour of La Belle France and her wealth of gastronomic delights.

From simple picnics of bread and cheese on park benches to Michelin-lauded establishments of the culinary elite, my mother and I ate our way across both the city and the countryside. Through well-laid plans as well as happy coincidences, our meals were shared with old friends from all over the world either living in Paris or happening to travel through the region at the same time.

One of the amazing things about Paris is how easy it is to find incredible food on every corner, from boulangeries to patisseries to shops teeming with foie gras or artisan chocolates.  We started one day at Sainte-Chappelle on Ile de la Cite, a popular tourist destination that was completely worth the wait…

and then proceeded to visit another the spectacular sight of Paris – the fromagerie.

This shop, on Ile-St-Louis, featured a front window display teeming with chevre of all shapes and sizes.  Some looked like moldy grey logs, others like newly hatched dinosaur eggs, others like petrified stones or lumpy balls of grout scraped off your shower tiles.  But the inside…smooth and creamy and bursting with earthy, grassy flavour.

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Museums of Ham, Houses of Salt Cod, and Markets Galore in Madrid

Madrid! An amazing city of eating where the magical jamon receives the love and attention and hero worship it truly deserves.  Witness my favorite sight throughout Madrid: THE MUSEUM OF HAM.

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I’m On A Roll! Or, The Painfully Punderful World of Sushi Making

I love salmon nigiri, I love cucumber maki, I really love shrimp tempura and avocado hand rolls and, as the mini button says, I love Yelp.  Thanks to the brilliant folks on the Yelp team here in London, I got to attend a sushi-making class at the brand new location of the paper crane-bedecked, double-fried soy garlic ginger chicken-producing Tsuru Sushi.  In case you’re wondering, I also love paper cranes and all things double-fried.

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San Francisco Eating Happy Times at the Ferry Building Farmers Market

I spent what might be the ideal local/urban/farming/foodie Saturday in San Francisco during my visit last month.  Ferry Building Farmers Market + Alemany Farm + dinner with friends to feast on all our accumulated goods = serious eating happy times.

It started at one of my favorite places of porkaliciousness on the planet, the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market…

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Tartine Bread and Cowgirl Creamery Food Porn

It might just be the best bread in the world.  A warm, soft, tantalizingly nutty sesame loaf, fresh from the ovens just after 5pm…

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Adventures in Newcastle: Beautiful Views, Beautiful Tarts, and Beautiful Things Involving Goat Cheese

I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip up to Newcastle upon Tyne for The Go Game and there were so many beautiful things to see in the city.

Beautiful Thing #1: The view of the River Tyne, including the Tyne Bridge and the Millenium Bridge, from the Viewing Box of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

And the reverse view of the BALTIC, an old flour mill, from the Millenium Bridge. If you happen to be anywhere near Newcastle, go see Damien Hirst’s fascinating exhibition Pharmacy and marvel at the view.

Beautiful Thing #2: The plum tart from the charming and brand new six-week-old BUEE Cafe and Bistro at Side Cinema.  I actually didn’t eat it; we went for the pecan pie and the raspberry cheesecake baked by the chef-husband of the proprietor-wife instead – more on that in a bit – but it’s a thing of beauty all the same.

Beautiful Thing #3: The goat cheese and roasted vegetable pizzaiola from Cafe Royal, a gem of a cafe amidst the shops of the city centre featuring artisanal bread from their own bakery.

So much to see in Newcastle and so much to eat! Let’s take a closer look at our two exciting foodie finds…

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Food Events Around London: Tea Parties, Pizza Parties and…Wine Parties?

I love parties. I’m in the process of planning a big family joint birthday party for my mom, sister and dad that may or may not involve an entire roast pig. Who doesn’t love a good party?  Obviously, the best parties include copious amounts of food and alcohol. At many London parties and events of the last month or so, my alcohol consumption has drastically outweighed the food consumption.  Often, my memories of the event can get a bit fuzzy. Luckily, I took pictures.

Here’s a photo from the Bibendum wine event at the stunning Saatchi Gallery. Can you spot the foodrambler?

Amidst approximately 149803454 bottles of wine spread over something like 10 galleries on 4 floors were all sorts of cool installations by local designers:

Equally alcoholic was the fabulous Yelp’s Burst Birthday, a surprise-filled soiree in an old metalworks building complete with a grassy garden tea party room filled with tea cups of gin and teapots of tonic amidst tiered trays of sugar-stacked snacks.  I’m still dreaming about the plate below of melty chocolatey caramelly Millionaire’s Squares…

The room was carpeted in real grass (hand laid by our dedicated friend Lizzie!) and populated by a small community of garden gnomes, one of whom came home with me at the end of the night. Chris and I named him Chomsky. We’re nerds.

The Yelp party also featured a real tube-car-as-a-bar slinging free cocktails and bunch of market-style food stalls, including fantabulous frozen yogurt, a sort of bizarre spiralled potato chip on a stick, and my most favoritest roast hog people.

Last up, I got a chance to taste the new Pizza Express menu by Francesco Mazzei, the chef from an award-winning London restaurant called L’Anima that I’m hoping to go to someday.  Shockingly, I’d never had Pizza Express before – it’s a very popular chain in the UK – but I was quite impressed with what I tasted of the new dishes.  I liked the spicy Calabrese pizza the best – a thin and crispy crust, fior di latte mozzarella, watercress in basil pesto, a few more chilies and peppers, and most importantly, nduja sausage.  Anything with nduja on it is a friend of mine.

Mmmm…looking at pictures never fails to make me hungry. I’ll take a spicy pizza, a few Millionaire’s Squares, a bottle of that rich and chocolatey Malbec, and a teacup of G&T.  It’s 2am.  Bibendum, Yelp and Pizza Express, do you deliver?

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Weekly Link Roundup: The Food Porn Version

I’m up in the middle of the night with a serious head cold.  A friend suggested it might be haggisitis – which turns your internal organs to pulp and mixes them with oatmeal – but I’m pretty sure it’s more of a deepfriedmarsbar syndrome, where your sinuses and lungs get encased in a thick, viscous batter.  Either way, it’s really not a pretty picture.

Because I’ve self-medicated with an assortment of pharmaceuticals and can’t really read anything, I opened my Google Reader for the first time in about 6 months to look at all the pretty pictures.  Oooh, pretty pictures.  I will share some of them with you now.

First off, a great photo from a great article called Northeast China Branches Out In Flushing in the New York Times.

Wait a minute. Those are sticky-sweet caramel sugar strands stretching off chunks of deep-fried sweet potato? And that’s Chinese food? Holy crap. My world is rocking right now and it’s not just me overdosing on cold meds.  Perhaps my deep-frying obsession is coded deep within my DNA.  Irene Bean sent this article to me at about the exact moment the drool hit the keyboard upon reading it myself.  Go read about the cuisine of the Dongbei (literally ‘East North’) region and look at the slideshow: I promise you’ll do some serious drooling yourself.

Next, up: Boston Creme Pies from Design*Sponge

Ooooooooooooohmyyyygod.  Despite being proudly Boston born and bred, I’ve never really liked Boston creme pies.  But seeing this photo made me want to scoop up that cheeky little cake and smooosh it into my mouth in one bite.  Look at how mini it is!  It would totally fit.  Design*sponge is one of my favorite design blogs and their foodie/recipe series  ‘in the kitchen with’ has some of the most gorgeous food styling I’ve ever seen, along with some great recipes.  My camera whimpers a little in shame every time I look at the photos.  But my heart sings a bit with joy at the beauty of it all, so I do my best to temper the rising bile of inadequacy. I mean, really…how has a messy, half-eaten plate of radishes ever looked so good?

This spectacularly beautiful radish explosion is better described as a Spicy Heirloom Radish Salad and the recipe can be found  ‘In The Kitchen With’ Penny De Los Santos.

My last photo (because I reeeeeallly needed to go to bed like 3 hours ago, but I am not up of my own volition. Damn the batter in my head!) is from Slice: America’s Favorite Pizza Weblog, which is part of the jolly, fat, and friendly Serious Eats family.  If I manage to stay up to date with my Reader, it will probably be due to the daily dose of deliciousness  from Serious Eats.

Scrolling through the several hundred posts I missed over the past few months, my eyes starting to glaze over, my brain beginning to succumb to the dripping ooze of fry batter, I was shocked out of my stupor by the following photo:

Hey! I know that pizza! I know that pizza damn well, and glancing at this photo again has me tempted to book a flight to New Haven, Connecticut as we speak. Rather, as I type. And I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a huge fan of Connecticut. But seriously, Sally’s Apizza is some of the best pizza you’ll ever have.  It’s absolutely orgasmically good.  It’s also the home to one of my favorite food stories…

Assuming you have a generally adequate level of vision and sense of  spatial reasoning, I think you get an idea from the above photo how large the ‘Large’ pizza at Sally’s is.  16 slices!  It’s about the size of a small stovetop,  a mid-size bath mat, two normal ‘Large’ pizzas, or perhaps a very big catskin rug if your cat were one of those hilariously overweight cats whose pictures make me laugh on a regular basis.  Regardless, the Larges should more aptly be called Enormously Huges, and then the Large pizzas from every other pizza institution would not suffer the intense shame of comparison.

I went to Sally’s with four girlfriends – Rachel, Lex, Olivia, and Helen, all champion eaters and all wanting a different kind of pizza. I wanted to try the classic White Clam, Rachel swore by the Eggplant Parmesan, Lex refused to leave without the Mixed Hot Peppers No Mozz, and Helen preferred the Pepperoni and Onion. So of course, after waiting in line for almost two hours, we decided to get all four. In Large. For five girls. We had so much pizza, they had to bring over another table to put it on.  The guys at the table next to us started heckling – like straight-up shit talking – but we shut them up when we took down approximately 3.15 of them and had just enough to divide for leftovers the way we intended. It was one of the most satisfying eating experiences of my life – mostly because the pizza is unquestionably amazing and we waited two hours for it, but also seeing the grudging looks of respect in the eyes of those dudes.

Or maybe it was horror. I might have been too high on tomato sauce to know the difference.

Oh, and then Lex ordered another one to take home.  Seriously people, it’s that good.

Also…you’d think if I could ingest almost 16 slices of pizza, I’d be able to ingest enough Tylenol PM aka Lemsip Max All Night Cold & Flu Tablets to knock myself out  for the night, wouldn’t you?

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Salt, Pepper and Reckless Abandon: A Lovely Evening At A Brand New London Supper Club

Salt, pepper, and reckless abandon? Sounds just like my kind of evening.

The adorable setting above, complete with handmade British napkin, comes courtesy of Lex of LexEat, the kitchen mistress of a brand new London underground restaurant. I love underground restaurants/ secret suppers because you never know what you’re going to get. It’s a bit of the surprising and unexpected from the culinary and creative mind of someone who cares enough to prepare a whole meal, or rather, a whole dining experience for you and your new friends for the evening.  This secret supper from a few weeks ago was a secret supper done right, an excellent meal with great company and all sorts of additional little touches to make a fantastic evening.

A perfect example is this lovely little plate below. Not only is it pretty, but it’s accompanied by an charmingly handwritten menu and even more importantly, topped with homemade orange pepper tortelli.

Casual yet well-designed, carefully thought out yet seemingly effortless – that’s pretty much how the whole night went.  We sat next to some great people and chatted food, games, and travel over multiple bottles of wine.

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